- Determine if a meeting is really necessary. Will a few phone calls or face-to-face discussions accomplish the same thing?
- Have an agenda. This simple step can cut unproductive meeting time by up to 80 percent. Your agenda should be specific and be sure to distribute it ahead of time with the appropriate background information.
- Invite only those who will contribute.The fewer people involved the more productive the meeting.
- Communicate your objectives and desired outcomes. Everyone in the room should know in advance the purpose of the meeting, why they were invited and what they are expected to contribute.
- Start on time. Don’t apologise for starting on time and resist the temptation to summarise the progress to date for every late arrival. If they ask, tell them you’ll update them after the meeting.
- Stay focused. Determine time limits for each topic and stick to them. If something comes up that’s not on the agenda, reschedule it for another time.
- Summarise and assign responsibility. Before adjourning, summarise the action items, who is responsible and in what timeframe. Schedule the next meeting but only if one is really necessary.
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